Study Links Childhood Trauma to Adult Depression & Physical Ailments

Dr. Burke Harris helps a patient.

Dr. Burke Harris helps a patient.

It comes as no surprise to many of us, especially to therapists, that children exposed to trauma and abuse, if untreated, become adults with depression and physical ailments. The publication of a recent report by the Center for Youth Wellness collects research quantifying and measuring "adverse childhood experiences," or ACEs and their impact on youth and the adults they become. You can read the report here.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician and founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, spoke today on KQED's Forum, and you can stream the show here. She is advocating for universal screening of children by pediatricians at their routine physicals. According to Dr. Burke Harris, “Toxic stress affects the entire developmental trajectory of the child. The changes to your DNA, the changes to your hormonal systems, as well as the changes to your immune system and neuro-development.”

I hope that with Google's $3 million donation to the Center, that psychotherapy can become more available to all - especially to our traumatized children. Even adults who are depressed as a result of childhood trauma can heal with effective therapy and other self care measures.